49 Seats and their Tom Yum Pasta

49 Seats and their Tom Yum Pasta

Address (Google Map): 49 Kreta Ayer Rd

Opening hours: Mon to Thu 6.00 pm – 2.00 am, Fri & Sat 6.00 pm – 4.30 am

Introduction

49 seats is situated along the stretch of shop house, at the end of Kreta Ayer street. Comparing to most cafes and restaurants, the unique thing about this branch is they only open at 6pm and closes late at 2 am, even on a weekday.

Thank you BB and Fang Fang of 49 seats for hosting me. This is an invited food tasting session and i decided to accept the invitation after reading so much about their Smoked Duck Aglio Olio and their Tom Yum Pasta.

49 Seats Menu 1 of 2 – Click to enlarge

49 seats menu 2 of 2 – Click to enlarge

Smoked Duck Aglio Olio ($14.90)

This is their so-call off menu dish (although there is a pic of this pasta at the ordering counter). Apart from their Tom Yum pasta, this is another of their signatures and this is my favourite dish among all. Apart from the generous serving of buttery mushrooms and tender slices of smoked duck, the pasta itself is pretty good too.

There is a pleasant fragrance coming from the pasta which it guess there’s something to do with the oil of the duck. The slices of duck meat is not tough at all and the well marinated duck skin may just be the contributing factor for the popularity of this dish.

Tom Yum Fish and Chips ($16.90)

49 seats is rather proud of this creation – The Tom Yum Fish and Chips, and claimed that it’s currently the only one kind in Singapore. The tender breaded fish fillet is fried to crisp and served with fries. They also provide a separate bowl of Tom Yum sauce as dip or to be drenched over the fish. Dipping it may be a better option so as to retain the crisp of the fish. I think that the fish is quite average so the deciding factor will be on how well does the tom yum sauce complement the fish.

Sad to say that the tom yum is overly salty and that’s the only thing i taste. I also think that to complement the strong Tom Yum sauce better, it may be a better idea to go with a lightly battered fish and chips instead of a fully flavoured breaded one.

Tom Yum Pasta ($14.90)

This is like 49 seats’ signature of the signatures and has a reputation of one of the most spicy pastas around. The pasta sauce is a blend of cream sauce and tom yum spices. I thought this sauce is more creamy than expected and has a moderate punch of Tom Yum fragrance and is less sour and spicy than expected. I would very much prefer a much stronger tom yum flavour while maintaining a lighter cream base.

The pasta is boiled till moderately soft, which generally suits the taste of Singaporeans. Comparing to a bowl of hot spicy tom yum soup, this pasta lacks a bit of the “shiok” factor. However if i am to judge this as an entirely new creation, it’s actually pretty addictive after having the first mouthful.

Cheese Fries ($7.90)

I have no complain for this cheese fries. At $7.90, it comes with a good portion of fries, top with a hell lots of cheese. This got to be one of the most generous portion of cheese that i’d ever seen. The cheese taste like a cross between KFC’s Cheese Fries with Golden Village’s Nacho Cheese in term of taste and texture, which is not as sweet like KFC with a not-so-creamy texture. This is an ideal dish to order to go with a nice cold bottle of beer.

Chicken Wings ($9.90 for 8 pcs)

Their chicken wings are fried with a layer of seemingly simple blend of breading. It’s doesn’t has the most exciting flavours but I am satisfied with the traditional taste. The wings are rather well tenderise as the meat get seperated from the bone quite easily. The plus point? Juicy. The minus? Can be more crispy.

Waffle with Ice Cream ($10.90)

I thought a good dessert will complete the whole dining experience and it’s a pity that this waffle fall short of expectation. 49 seats waffle is actually sweetened, like a typical Prima Deli kind of waffle, but it lack in flavor and fragrance. The ice-cream taste like a typical Wall’s ice-cream tube and for the price of $10.90, there are definitely better alternatives out there. Not recommended.

Conclusion

I think this place and their menu selection will very much appeal to fun seeking youngsters. It has a very cosy and casual dining environment and they are also offering their food at a reasonable price. All prices indicated on the menu is nett, with no additional service charge and tax. Recommended dishes – Smoked Duck Pasta, Cheese Fries, Chicken Wing. Tom Yum pasta may also be something interesting to try.

In fact I went back to 49 seats (and that is when i also tried their Tom Yum pasta) as this place came to my mind when looking for a casual drinking place that opens till late. The cheese fries and fried chicken wings will probably be on my regular order when i visit this place.

Although the dishes here are not something to die for, it’s pretty decent and it can be an option if you are looking for something not heavy on wallet and yet looking for a more-comfortable-than-hawker kind of dining environment.

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Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot at Chinatown People’s Park Food Centre

Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot 日日红麻辣香锅

Address: People’s Park Food Centre, 32 New Market Road #01-1042 & #01-1052

Opening hours: Mon to Sun 11.00am to 9.00pm

Introduction

Mala Hot Pot (麻辣香锅) originates from the Sichuan (四川) / Chongqing (重庆) region. It has a humble background and this everyday-dish is widely enjoyed by their ordinary folks. It has gained tremendous popularity in China and eateries selling Mala Hot Pot also started popping up in Singapore’s food court and hawker centre. In3 Singapore’s context, a hot pot refers to a steamboat kind of dish but this Hot Pot actually means Spicy Pot.

Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot (日日红麻辣香锅) is one of the first Mala Hot Pot eateries in Singapore. It has since gained much popularity and long queues are formed out this hawker stall during dinner hour. The concept of Mala Hot Pot is the diner will choose from a wide variety of ingredients (like our Yong Tau Foo) to be wok-fried in their Mala spicy sauce and to go with white rice. Some common ingredients are pork, chicken, luncheon meat, chinese sausage, veggies, bean stick, mushrooms, lotus root, potato etc.

Order at the stall in front, and collect it from stall behind

Pricing

Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot are well known for the good taste and affordability. Some of us may have seen food court selling Mala Hot Pot and they priced it according to weight (per 100g), which means a moderate size potato can already cost you two to three dollars, which is crazy. Even a piece of luncheon meat can cost three dollars for a thicker slice and you will only know the price after they weigh it. I think those kind of pricing is ridiculous and i never patronise those stalls ever since.

For Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot, you place your order with the stall lady and will be charged by per portion. It’s a dollar for a portion of non-meat ingredient, two dollars for meat and three dollars for seafood, and premium meat like beef, mutton, taiwan sausage and intestine.

The Level of Spiciness

Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot Menu and Price List

You will then decide the spiciness level, from non spicy, mild, moderate, spicy to extra spicy. For people who can take spicy stuff, the moderate (中辣) is pretty bearable. Probably only the spicy (大辣) flavour will give some kick.

The Hot Pot Itself

The hot pot is brought to taste by some basic ingredients like garlic, red chilli, dried chilli flakes, sugar, spring onion, pepper, sesame, chilli oil and their secret Mala spicy sauce. They claimed that their sauce is made up of more than twenty kinds of herbs and spices. The overall taste of the Mala Hot Pot is similar to Kung Pao Chicken but less sweet and much spicier. I personally like it very much.

Their thick vermicelli (濑粉) is a must order. During the process of wok frying, these vermicelli absorbs much of the Mala sauce and made them absolutely delectable. I ordered vermicelli, mushroom, lotus roots, potato, veg, tau pok, tau kee, golden mushroom and luncheon meat and it only cost me $10.00, which is good to be shared by two person. If you had other Mala Hot Pot before, you will know that Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot is definitely affordable and very much worth the price.

Conclusion

To be honest, I was a little sceptical about this Mala Hot Pot initially as the appearance does not look appealing at all. I sort of mix this up with their cold-stir veggie (凉拌菜) and i am not very into cold savoury dishes. It was the queue that convinced me to try and it was definitely a good decision (in you are into spicy stuff like me).

Do note that it’s a little oily so it’s not exactly the healthiest dish. But Ri Ri Hong Mala Hot Pot will always be in my mind if I happen to visit Chinatown. Now i understand why Mala Hot Pot can be so popular back in China. Cheap, good, shiok and spicy!

Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice, one of the Best in Singapore

Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice

Address (Google Map): 71 Seng Poh Road #01-49

Opening hours: 7.45am to 2.30pm or till sold out and closed on alternate Tuesday

Introduction

Loo’s Hainanese Curry Rice needs no introduction for all Hainanese Curry Rice lovers. Loo’s, one of the most well-known and popular Hainanese Curry Rice vendor started its operation since 1946. It was situated opposite Tiong Bahru Market and it just moved to a new location not long ago at Seng Poh Road.

I reached there on Saturday 12pm and the queue is already crazily long. You don’t see such queue even at the cafes along Keong Saik road. It seems like our local dishes still have their charm over the recently booming cafe culture.

Hainanese Pork Chop

Unlike Beo Crescent Curry Rice, Loo’s Hainanese pork chop is crispy, but not as crispy, but it manage to retain it’s crisp even when it’s cool. The pork chop is rather thick and you get a good crunch with every mouthful. Like a traditional Hainanese pork chop, it’s drizzled with a light tomato gravy. The pork chop is well flavoured and marinated. Most importantly, It is not greasy, and it’s not hard to understand why every table has a portion of their pork chop.

Braised Tofu

This is apparently another favourite. The tofu is lightly fried to brown and is accompanied by a good serving of meat sauce. Unlike some tofu that has a strong and unpleasant bean taste, Loo’s tofu is very sweet and smooth and is especially good when it goes with the meat sauce. A good amount of sesame oil is added to enhance the fragrance and the rich and salty nature of the sauce added a good flavour to the tofu.

Braised Cabbage (Chap Chye)

Braised cabbage, the spirit of Hainanese Curry Rice, is really simple without any fancy sauce. This cabbage is cooked till the appropriate softness and Tang Hoon  (glass vermicelli) is added while it absorbs the braised sauce. It’s not overly soft nor tough and it’s a dish whereby one get to enjoy the natural sweetness of the cabbage without the sauce overpowering the main lead. This dish is not fantastic by itself though.

Luncheon Meat and Potato in Tomato Sauce

This dish is not special in any way but it tasted really homely. It tasted like a dish from my primary school canteen which is mostly made up of bottled tomato sauce. It’s definitely not something a ketchup/tomato hater will like.

Yong Tau Foo

The braised pork belly was sold out and while I was pondering what to order, the auntie recommended this Yong Tau Foo and said it’s “Ho Jiak” (taste good). So I went along with it and I love it. The green chilli, bitter gourd, wrapped fish meat is coated with thick salty black bean sauce and it gains my favour instantly.

Curry Rice

And finally, my review for the curry rice. At first mouthful, i thought their curry is more salty than any others and is more sweet than spicy. I was anticipating the curry flavour but the fragrance of their curry only comes a little while later. I thought the curry fragrance is not strong enough but still ok as it gets a little better with every mouthful. Comparing to Beo Crescent Hainanese Curry Rice, i prefer Beo Crescent’s curry a little more.

Conclusion

Guess the price of two rice, pork chop, Yong Tau Foo, luncheon meat and potato in tomato sauce, braised tofu and braised cabbage? $9.00. Isn’t that quite reasonable?

Although i prefer Beo Crescent’s curry and pork chop, i like the rest of the dishes better and thought they taste better in general. It is a tough choice between the two but i think i will choose Beo Crescent Hainanese Curry Rice.

For friends who wish to find a nice air con place to chill after a sumptuous lunch at Loo’s you may want to consider visiting Drips Bakery Cafe that is only around the corner at Tiong Poh Road.

Drips Bakery Cafe

Drips Bakery Cafe

Address: 2 Tiong Poh Road #01-05 Singapore 160082

Operating Hours: Sun – Thur: 11:00am – 9:30pm Fri & Sat: 11:00am – 11:00pm

Introduction

This place is recommended by my colleague who had high rating for their sandwich where the bread is freshly baked everyday. Drips bakery cafe offers a good range of pastries, tarts, cookies and cakes as well as hand crafted coffee.

Initially, i wanted to drop by at a cafe at Yong Siak Street only to find most of them are really crowded and a little noisy but i am in a mood to find a quiet place for a good cup of coffee after my lunch at Beo Crescent Hainanese Curry Rice and i am glad that i did.

At Drips Bakery Cafe, the tables are well spaced apart with a high ceiling. There are also sofa seats at the other end of the cafe that is situated below a sun roof. I did not opt for the sofa seat as it was at 1.30pm and sunlight is directly shining onto the sofa.

 

The ambiance is very relaxing with light music playing at the background. Perfect for a great afternoon chill out session! They do not have a fixed menu which i think they will just wipe off an item from the menu black board if it was sold out for the day.

Fruit Tarts

I heard that the pastry chef from Drips Bakery Cafe was once with Shangri-la. We were fortunate to be able to try the tarts freshly prepared from the kitchen. The mango and blackberry tart cost me $8.00 which i think it’s a little pricey but taking account that they are actually quite generous with the fresh fruits, it’s still reasonable.

When the tarts were brought out from the kitchen, everyone started crowding at the counter and most of the tarts were snapped up in no time. I thought the crust taste very similar to a butter cookie but the best part of the tart is the cream filling. I like the smooth texture of the cream and for the fact that it’s simply not too sweet.

Sandwich

Drips bakery cafe offers some sandwich choices like Smoked Salmon, Virginia Ham, Vegetarian and Honey Low Fat Ham. For a meat lover like me, of course i opted for a Ham sandwich – The Honey Low Fat Ham. There’s only one option for choice of bread which they call it the “Baked Bread”.

The veggies are really fresh and i particularly like how they toasted the tomato to mild warm before serving. And for the bread, the edge of the bread were really crispy and soft on the inside.

Conclusion

Fresh tarts, fresh bread, spacious, relaxing, good cappuccino are all the reasons that i have to come back to Drips Baker Cafe again. I actually wanted to try their buns like their curry bun and their Macadamia Tarts but after eating a plate of curry rice, a sandwich and a tart, my stomach gone already. So probably i will pop by in near future and to try out their sandwich of a different flavor and hope that their bread is as good as this time!